"Portrait and biographical album of Coles County, Illinois"
ILLIAM M. CHAMBERS, M. D., the oldest resident physician of Charleston, came to this county in the fall of 1855, from Covington, Ky., where he had successfully followed the practice of his profession for a period of ten years. He was born in Cynthiana, Ky., April 11, 1814, and is the son of James and Sallie (Rankin) Chambers, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Kentucky. His grandfather, James Chambers, was born in Scotland, whence he emigrated to the United States while a young man, and settled near Chambersburg, Pa., where he followed his trade as a stonemason. He also married there and reared a family, and his son, James, Jr., learned the same trade.
James Chambers, Jr., the father of our subject, served as a soldier in the War of 1812. He came to Illinois in 1850 and settling near Charleston, remained a permanent resident until his death, which took place in the summer of 1873, after he had attained the age of eighty-three years. He was a man of much force of character, a stanch member of the old Whig party, and signalized his belief in the Christian religion early in life by becoming a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which he continued until his death. The mother departed this life at the old homestead, near Charleston, in 1855. She also belonged to the same church as her husband, and was in all respects his suitable and worthy helpmeet. The parental household included eight children, five now living, namely, William M., of our sketch, Thomas G., Mary A., Hannah A. and Sarah B.
Dr. Chambers was reared in his native town and attended school there until seventeen years old. There also he commenced the study of medicine in 1833, and three years later began the practice of his chosen profession in Harrison County. He still continued his close application to his books, and in due time entered the medical department of Transylvania University at Lexington, from which he graduated in 1843. His practice while a resident of Kentucky was mostly in Covington and vicinity. After coming to this county and soon after the outbreak of the Rebellion, Dr. Chambers was appointed by President Lincoln Brigade Surgeon in the Union army, serving in the division of the Cumberland until in July, 1865. The fidelity with which he fulfilled the duties of that position was rewarded with the brevet of Lieutenant Colonel and afterward Colonel. In his mangement of the hospitals under his charge, he displayed most excellent judgment and introduced many features which proved of great benefit to both patients and attendants.
After an absence of four years Dr. Chambers re- turned to Charleston and resumed his practice as a private citizen, and became connected with the various important medical societies of the Mississippi Valley. He was President of the Kentucky State Medical, the Illinois Medical, and the Esculapian Societies of the Wabash Valley, and in 1877 was appointed by Gov. Cullum a member of the Health Association of the United States. He is now Examining Surgeon for Pensions.
The marriage of Dr. William M. Chambers and Miss C. A. Porter, of Harrison County, Ky., took place in Pulmansville, Ky., in the spring of 1837. After remaining the companion of her husband but three short years Mrs. Chambers departed this life in the spring of 1840, leaving one child, a son, Charles S., who now a resident of Hopkinsville, Ky. Dr. Chambers was subsequently married to Miss Mary B. F. Ingals, of Kentucky. This lady was a lineal descendant of Daniel Boone. and died on the 30th of December, 1876, at her home in Charleston, leaving two children. These were Mollie M. S., now the wife of Dr. C. A. Payton, surgeon of the Sac and Fox Indian Agency in Indian Territory, and T. Gavin, who is an attorney and a resident of Kansas. The Doctor is a stanch supporter of the Democratic party, and a Royal Arch Mason.
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